What’s the difference between an innovation, an invention & a dream?
Wikipedia describes innovation as the process that renews something that exists.. and not, as is commonly assumed, the introduction of something new. Furthermore this makes clear that innovation is not an economic term by origin, but dates back to the Middle Ages at least, possibly even earlier.
The central meaning of innovation thus relates to renewal, & for this renewal to take place, it is necessary for people to change the way they make decisions. They must choose to do things differently, make choices outside of their norm, i.e. “think-outside-the-box” & explore beyond their comfort zones.
And this in itself presents a whole series of challenges, as well as opportunities that I’d like to briefly explore in this post.
Comfort, Learning & Danger Zones
Far too often, the intricate & very personal nature of these three stages is overlooked by those desiring to push through innovation in an organization, leading to inevitable failure. My friend Conor Neill helped me rediscover the difference in early ’09 when we were executing on a series of Managerial & Effective Communications workshops. The key is not to push individuals too far outside of their comfort zone into a place where they panic & block-up, but rather to find their intermediate Learning Zone whilst coaxing them out of their comfort, and reinforcing their confidence in a progressive & reaffirming manner.
Renew vs. Invent – Evolution vs. Revolution
Another good friend Arnaud Grobet reminded an audience during a Social Media strategy session facilitation in ’08 that what we’re experiencing in this new (Marketing) area inundated by a rush to Twitter, Facebook, Blog & “Social Mediaize”, is not a revolution but an evolution. In creating brand awareness, loyalty & inspiring clients to want to buy from you, at a core you’re doing the same things you’ve always done. You’re simply using a new medium (renewing a process) for outreach & engagement with your audience.
My relationship w/ innovation, inventions & dreams
Long before I was recently hired by a Fortune 100 to help them with an innovation theme for their annual kick-off event, through varying avenues I’d been involved in the creativity process that results in innovations, inventions & even dreams. In addition to the above, yet another example was in working with Marcia Wieder back in ’07 to scale her Dream University®. In order to better understand the affinity between Dream Coaches® & Amazing Dreamers, I first became a Certified Dream Coach® myself, & then we were able to build an online community of over 7.000 members in less than 16 months.
Dream Coaching® is all about helping people get through a 10-stage process in manifesting their dreams. The key components, areas of focus, and greatest challenges people face in this process is;
- Finding / discovering their purpose reason for being, which must be at the base of any powerful dream
- Overcoming their limiting beliefs and or lack of effective strategy in order to put together the necessary steps en-route to manifesting their dreams
- Building a support network (Dream Team) that (a) helps them look out for new opportunities to realize their spoken visualization of their dream, (b) encourages them in pushing through recurring obstacles and (c) holds them accountable to their comitted actions on the road to realizing their dreams.
I have found that whether I’m helping someone learn to dream again, think-outside-the-box to innovate or create a new invention, I’m trying to tap into the 3-year old inside of all of us that we’ve unfortunately locked away too long ago.
Steven Johnson & Where do good ideas come from
The best thing about the space I’m privileged to be in is that through discovery & rediscovery, I’m exposed to a continual learning & development process along with the very people I’m helping.
I relate to Steven’s quick 4:07 introduction as his “hunch collision theory”. The key is to create an environment conducive to the collision (coming together) of smaller hunches (i.e. half baked ideas) so that those pieces of a puzzle can become a great innovation, invention and or dream realized. My 4 key take-aways from this quick clip were the key roles of
- Time needed to incubate (environment)
- Hunch collision = breakthrough
- Idea mingle & swap (Jam Sessions)
- Connectivity & Idea Exchange (social media based collaborative tools)
A final reflection on innovation, inventions & dreams
Thomas Edison had a dream, and through a series of trial & error, overcoming limiting beliefs, pushing himself out his comfort zone, sharing his hunches with colleagues, he invented the light bulb and innovated light (illumination) itself. I’m struck with the image street light workers (what else do you call them?) that used to walk down the street and light self-enclosed candles to illuminate the city streets of London & colonial America in the 1700’s. When these same individuals traded in their candle stick for light bulbs, they were in essence innovating how streets were lit.
What tips or insights, discoveries or rediscoveries have you found in this article? How will it help you innovate, invent, or dream?